District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands

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Northern Mariana Islands
Ninth Circuit
Judges: 1
Posts: 1
Vacancies: 0
Active judges
Senior Judges
Magistrate Judges
Former Judges
(Numbers indicate % of seats vacant.)
More than 40%

The District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands is a federal court that has jurisdiction over the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. It was established by an Act of Congress in 1977. The court began hearing cases in January 1978. Appeals of the court's decisions are heard by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

The court has the same jurisdiction as the United States district courts, including diversity jurisdiction and bankruptcy jurisdiction. While the court is named a "district court", it is not an Article III court, but was created in accordance with the power granted under Article IV of the United States Constitution.[1]

The judge of the District Court of the Northern Mariana Islands is an Article IV federal judge who is appointed to a 10-year term, which is renewable. Judges of this court are appointed by the president and subject to Senate confirmation. Judges may serve more than one term, subject to the standard nominating process.[2]

Vacancy warning level

The United States District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands vacancy warning level is green. There are no vacancies and no pending appointments. The territorial courts do not have an effect on the national vacancy warning level.

Pending nominations

There are no pending nominations for the United States District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands.

Active judges

Article IV judges

JudgeBornHomeAppointed byActiveChiefPreceededBachelorsLaw
Chief judge Ramona V. ManglonaObama 2011-PresentUC Berkeley, 1990University of New Mexico Law, 1996

Senior judges

No senior judges.

Magistrate judges

Magistrate Judge Heather L. Kennedy6/11/2013-Present


The Northern Mariana Islands (click for larger map)

The District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands has original jurisdiction over cases filed within its jurisdiction. These cases can include civil and criminal matters that fall under federal law as well as bankruptcy cases.

The jurisdiction of the district court for the Northern Mariana Islands includes all of the Mariana Islands except for Guam, which has its own district court. The only courthouse is located on the Island of Saipan. Decisions of the court are appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals at the James R. Browning Federal Courthouse in San Francisco, California.[2]




Federal Court Caseload Statistics*
YearStarting case load:Cases filed:Total cases:Cases terminated:Remaining cases:Median time (Criminal)**:Median time (Civil)**:Three-year civil cases#:Vacant posts:## Trials/Post
2013 1475820579 12610.927.622 (28.9%)09
2012 1219121261 1519.917.129 (35.4%)0.018
2011 1096317243 1297.712.518 (23.7%)9.88
2010 986616453 1115.99.714 (18.7%)7.05
2009 947516971 986.59.25 (7.0%)0.04
2008 837816167 945.214.02 (3.2%)0.03
20078284166661004.510.31 (1.8%)0.09
*All statistics are taken from the Official Federal Courts' Website and reflect the calendar year through September.

**Time in months from filing to completion.
#This statistic includes cases which have been appealed in higher courts.

##This is the total number of months that any judicial posts had spent vacant that year.


The court was established in 1977 by U.S. Code 90 Stat. 263 and heard its first cases in January 1978. Judges were originally appointed for eight-year terms, but an amendment in 1984 changed the term length to ten years.[3]

Former chief judges

In order to qualify for the office of chief judge in one of the federal courts, a judge must have been in active service on the court for at least one year, be under the age of 65, and have not previously served as chief judge. A vacancy in the office of chief judge is filled by the judge highest in seniority among the group of qualified judges. The chief judge serves for a term of seven years or until age 70, whichever occurs first. The age restrictions are waived if no members of the court would otherwise be qualified for the position. Unlike the Chief Justice of the United States, a chief judge returns to active service after the expiration of his or her term and does not create a vacancy on the bench by the fact of his or her promotion.[4][5]

Former judges

For more information about the judges of the Northern Mariana Islands, see former federal judges of the Northern Mariana Islands.

See also

External links